Intro to VoIP Phone Systems for Small Businesses in the UK
Hosted voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) is the business telecoms solution of the future. “Why?!”, you may ask. Because in 2025, BT will stop all of their ISDN and PSTN services completely. So, for business continuity, you should consider VoIP now and secure your business telecoms ahead of the great ISDN switch off.
But is VoIP a solution for small businesses, too? Yes, absolutely. In this guide, we’ll explain what VoIP is, what the benefits of a VoIP phone system for small business are and look at a few solutions. Or, if you already know all of this and have decided to get hosted telephony for your small business, skip ahead and get a comparison quote.
What’s a VoIP phone system?
You can check out everything you need to know about VoIP in our guide, but here’s a short summary to save you time!
VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol and it means telephone calls can take place over the internet. With VoIP you don’t need traditional phone systems in your office. Instead, all you need is a headset and a laptop or a mobile phone to make calls. That’s right, VoIP works for mobile phones as well. You need a stable internet connection, which is basically the norm nowadays.
To make VoIP phone calls, you have three options:
- You can use a desk phone with the right Internet Protocol software on it, as part of your office phone system.
- You can use a specific VoIP software on your computer.
- You can simply use a browser. Using VoIP with no specialist software is ideal for many small businesses.
Is a VoIP phone system good for small business?
Definitely! VoIP is a game-changer for small businesses, if you ask us. With cloud-based VoIP your small business gets access to enterprise-level tech at a low monthly rate.
Most of the best VoIP phone systems for small business in the UK come with useful features and functionalities to make your business more efficient and competitive.
It’s very likely your small business already uses a suitable device to make calls and we’re pretty sure you have a suitable internet connection too. That means all your business needs is a VoIP system for small business, which you can get for a very affordable price.
Useful VoIP features for small businesses
Let’s talk about what the most useful VoIP features for small business are so you’ll know what to look for when you compare VoIP providers.
- Customers can reach you no matter where you are. So, you have one business telephone number. With VoIP, customers can reach you at that number even when you’re not in the office. This gives you flexibility to work from anywhere without missing important customer calls.
- Waiting queues and on-hold music. With the call waiting feature, you won’t miss calls. Plus, you can record promotional messages for your customers to listen to while waiting in queue. Or just go with a catchy tune.
- Auto-attendant feature. Like “press 1 to make a booking” or “press 2 for customer service”. This may sound like a big company feature. But truth is small businesses can also use it to their benefit. You just have to configure it right. The pros? It makes you look professional and trustworthy.
- Online management system. This is a particularly useful feature that’ll ease your admin work as your business grows. It lets you manage your VoIP phone system via an online portal. You can add users, view call reports, set phone numbers, and more.
- Voicemail-to-email. Another nice feature to have. It sends an audio file or the transcript of the voicemail to your email. You’ll never miss a voicemail again.
Other features you might find useful for your small business are:
- Call forwarding
- Video conferencing and conference calls
- Call recording
- Call parking
- Instant messaging
- Live chat
- Extension numbers
- Online fax services
Bottom line, cloud-based telephony doesn’t play around when it comes to its array of features – there are loads of them.
Though what exactly you get depends on the provider and how much you’re willing to pay. But there are so many solutions and providers on the market that it’s impossible to not find the right one for you.
What are the main advantages of a VoIP phone system for small business?
Hosted phone systems come with lots of benefits. The best one and most important for small businesses especially is you’ll have lower costs.
Now let’s see what the main advantages to VoIP are for small business.
Choosing a VoIP phone system for small business saves you money
Reducing costs is always a biggie for small businesses. When you’re new to the market and looking to grow, you don’t have the luxury to spend like a big company.
Fortunately, low cost is one of the best benefits of IP phone systems.
Here’s how VoIP can help you save:
- No expensive ISDN phone lines that you have to pay for.
- No expensive hardware or equipment to buy. The system is cloud-based so it’s all included in your subscription.
- Internet calls are much cheaper than calls made via traditional phone services. You can call anywhere in the world at very low rates.
- You can use VoIP with your laptop or mobile phone and a headset. Which you probably already own.
Work from wherever you want
That’s a really cool one! Work from wherever you want in the whole world, as long as you have an internet connection. Take your phone number anywhere and your customers will still get the feeling (and the fees) of calling locally.
For all they know, you’re in your office. When you can be solving important customer requests from a beach in Madeira.
Get a scalable phone system
You may have a small business now, but we bet you plan to grow it. You’ll want a phone system that fits your business now and beyond. You’ll want to avoid the hassle of changing your telephony solution when you grow into a larger business.
The good news is most leading solutions can scale up to thousands of users. Your VoIP phone system for small business will keep up the pace with you.
Secure your communications
Once VoIP has been installed at your business, you’re ready to go. With no fuss or worry about the security of your communications. It’s all pretty straightforward. The calls are made through a server, which means they go through advanced encryption. That’s a high level of security for your conversations and messages.
What’s the best VoIP phone system for small businesses in the UK?
The market is packed with VoIP phone systems and providers. Not all of them are suitable for small business, though. So, compare the market using our quote tool to make sure you find the solution to cover your business needs. It only takes a minute!
To make the choice easier, here are a few of the best VoIP systems for small business.
1. Gamma Horizon
This is an excellent VoIP phone system for small businesses in the UK. It comes with all the features you could need. It’s really easy to manage. And, most importantly, it’s cost effective.
But let’s have a look at what it offers:
- Subscription starts at £9.95 per user per month
- Unlimited VoIP phone numbers
- Mobile integration, so you can take business calls on your mobile
- 2,000 free UK landline minutes per user
- 2,000 free UK mobile minutes per user
- Voicemail to email feature
- Video conferencing
- Call recording
- Call waiting and queueing
- On hold music
- Great support
- CRM integration
How about cons?
- Limited handset choice
- Less control over your system compared to other solutions
- Can get a bit more expensive as your business grows
2. 8×8 Express
This is one of the best and most affordable VoIP systems for small business. Its features easily cover your business needs without making a hole in your budget.
It offers great advantages such as:
- Prices from £10 per user per month
- Free trial for the first month
- Unlimited calls in the UK
- Unlimited video and audio conferences
- Mobile compatibility: iOS and Android
- Team messaging
- Automatic call recording
- Advanced call management
- Loads of packages to choose from as your business grows
No system is perfect, so here are the cons:
- Can take longer to set up
- Not compatible with Linux, Chromebook, or iPads
- Small fee for paper invoices
Wildix is a solution that fits all sizes and pockets. It’s often compared to Microsoft Teams. It’s easy to install and use. It’s one of the most straightforward VoIP providers.
It’s got some powerful pros such as:
- Customised prices based on what options you choose
- Can be used in browser, so you don’t have to install an app to use it
- Free unlimited calls to UK landlines and mobiles
- Can integrate PBX systems as a backup
- Includes SMS, cloud, email, and fax
- Can be used on all mobile devices
It also has a few cons:
- Average customer support
- Basic automatic email invites
- Can end up being pricier than other solution
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